Phoenix, AZ – The state transportation department closed down 13 of the state's
18 rest areas last fall because of budget problems. That left
long stretches of interstate with not much other than a few
bushes. ADOT's Doug Nintzel said things have changed since then.
(Our operating budget has stabilized at least enough so we can
say that it's leveled off. We're ready to reopen five rest areas
next month and four others this fall. So that'll mean nine of the
13 closed rest areas will be back open again.
That first batch includes one near Meteor Crater on I-40, with
another one between Topock and Kingman on the list for fall
reopening. But Nintzel said this could be just a temporary
solution, as the prime sources of funds for rest areas --
gasoline taxes and vehicle registration fees -- may not hold up.
Gubernatorial press aide Paul Senseman said his boss has a
longer-term solution: Let private companies run rest areas just
like back East.
(Many states were granfathered in this opportunity. And it's a
way for states to expand their available resources and to provide
more opportunities for services to our citizens.)
But that would require repealing a 1956 federal law that keeps
private companies out of new rest areas. For Arizona Public Radio
this is Howard Fischer.